The UTC Football Mocs are recruiting students to “Get in the Game” and become part of the Be The Match Registry, the world’s largest hematopoietic cell registry pairing stem cell donors with patients suffering from blood cancers.
Get in the Game is being held in conjunction with UTC Bloodanooga, a community-wide mobile blood drive on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27 and 28, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in the Tennessee Room of the UTC University Center. Everyone is invited to help the University participate in this national competition to increase the number of potential donors to the registry.
Get in the Game is especially important to the UTC community. Last year, Dr. Carolyn Thompson, Chancellor Roger Brown’s wife, was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a disorder of the marrow. Thompson, who died March 2, 2012, was the recipient of a stem cell transplant at Vanderbilt Medical Center.
“I want to encourage everyone to become part of the registry. This action can mean so much to patients and their families,” Brown said.
Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. People of all backgrounds are needed. Registry members from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are especially needed, so every patient has a second chance at life.
Kimberly Washington, a UTC student, knew that only 7% (685,000) potential marrow donors are African American of the 9 million members on the Be The Match Registry. Not only that, but because Africans migrated all over the world, there is greater diversity within the African American population than other racial and ethnic groups. So African Americans can have a harder time finding a match than those of other heritage.
The registry application process is not difficult. After basic paperwork is filed, the applicant gives a DNA sample through a cheek swab to complete the submission. In the event that a patient is matched, the donation procedure can be completed in a day.
Washington explained that her stem cell donation took about three hours, completed while she lay in bed and watched movies.
“It was a life-changing experience,” Washington said. “Once you realize the impact you have—you can change someone’s outcome—you don’t look at life the same way. You value your health.”
Washington knows her stem cell donation helped extend the life of the recipient. “This is the most unselfish thing you can do. It’s not scary, it’s an easy process, and I encourage everyone to become educated about this need.”
For more information, please email Carol-Oglesby@utc.edu or call 423.425.2337.